FORT WORTH An elderly woman's body found among the ashes of a burned-out home in Fort Worth early Saturday morning.

Firefighters faced heavy flames when they arrived at the small wood frame residence in the 3600 block of South Hughes Avenue shortly before 5 a.m., fire department spokesman Timothy Hardeman said.

Burglar bars on the front door briefly slowed rescue efforts.

The body of 82-year-old Eunice Middlebrook was found inside. Gwendolyn Simmons told News 8 that her mother was beloved in the neighborhood, known to many as 'Miss Chris' or 'Chris' or just 'Mama.'

'For an 82-year-old, she was a very powerful woman,' Simmons said. 'Always wished she'd come and stay with us, but she said, 'I can still walk; I can still do for myself,' and she didn't want to.'

Simmons said her mother was found with her keys in her hand. She's not sure if Middlebrook got confused trying to escape.

Fire investigators said the fire started in a bedroom at the front of the residence; Ms. Middlebrook was found in the living room. No smoke detectors were found in the residence.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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